First visits to teaching internship cities

SSTers are beginning the third week of teaching English in middle and high schools in their new locations. Each city is 50-60 miles from Nanchong and we will visit two times during the service portion of China SST.

Last Wednesday I traveled by train with Greta and Naomi to meet with four students in Guang’an, a lovely tree-lined prefecture city with a population of 1 million. “Prefecture” is a government administration term indicating a city ranked below a province but above a county. Mia, Andrew N, Christi and Lexus are teaching at Friendship High School in Guang’an.

On Friday, Greta and Naomi and I took another train to Langzhong, a county-level city of 850,000 administered as part of Nanchong (a prefecture-level city). Amy, Emily, Yadira, Cornelius, Abe and Carter are teaching at East Wind Middle School. They enjoy the close distance between the school and the ancient city.

The next morning we left Langzhong by bus for Yilong (population 350,000), where Skye, Andrew, Elsa and Andrew L teach at Hongde Middle School in New Yilong, an extension of the city built in the last ten years. Yilong is another county-level city of Nanchong, with the Jialing River across the street from the school. We think the four Goshen students are the only foreigners in New Yilong.

We were impressed by how comfortable SSTers already seem with their new cities, host families, and school structures. The first week of teaching internships involves a lot of patience and living with uncertainty as schedules and classes are determined. SSTers are experiencing plenty of lively interactions with friendly middle and high school students in and outside the classroom. There is lots of work to do with planning and teaching good lessons along with other academic projects, but the less busy pace of life compared to the study portion is appreciated.

Back in Nanchong Dale stayed with Christian who had an eventful week with ankle surgery and recovery. His SST experience is now indelibly marked with a major medical event in China, and friendships developed with nurses, doctors and other kind souls who helped will be part of his story.

This week includes finalizing plans for the big field trip during our final week of SST. We look forward to second visits to the internship cities next week.